Museum Curators Collecting Protest Items From Across Nebraska

A sign used by a family during marches in Lincoln the last weekend of May. (Courtesy: History Nebraska)
Casing from a foam baton, also known as a rubber bullet or sponge grenade, used for crowd control. Found on May 31 in Lincoln after a march on May 30. (Courtesy: History Nebraska)
A "white smoke projectile" cartridge for firing a projectile that emits smoke or irritating agents. Found in Lincoln on May 31, after a march on May 30. (Courtesy: History Nebraska)
A sign used during marches the last weekend in May in Lincoln. (Courtesy: History Nebraska)
A sign used during marches the last weekend in May in Lincoln. (Courtesy: History Nebraska)
A sign printed and donated by Goldenrod Printing of Lincoln. (Courtesy: History Nebraska)
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June 29, 2020 - 1:14pm

Black Lives Matter protests have sparked an international conversation about police violence and racism. The Nebraska History Museum in Lincoln is gathering items related to the movement for a future collection.


Museum curators are always on the lookout for significant moments that warrant preservation. They’re working on a collection about the coronavirus pandemic, for example.

Collections Registrar Jordan Miller says the protests are another example of something with clear historic significance.

A poster designed by Anthony Pena of Omaha, based on a photograph taken by Dalton Carper. (Courtesy: History Nebraska)

"It’s not just about the protests," Miller said. "We want this to be a collection that tells a bigger story than just 'hey, here’s what happened these couple weeks in May and June.'" 

So far they’ve collected protest signs from Lincoln, Omaha and Scottsbluff. They have a video of a demonstration in North Platte, and are speaking with folks in Seward to get items from there.

Miller says they want to build relationships with the people who donate, so that the diverse communities in Nebraska can contribute to the museum’s overall mission:

"It’s not about us as History Nebraska. It’s about the communities in Nebraska and making sure they see themselves in our collection," Miller said. "Making sure that when they come to the museum, or when they come to do research at History Nebraska, that they see themselves and they’re able to find those resources."

Some Nebraskans have criticized the effort, saying the collection is biased. Miller says it’s important to include all sides of this public conversation, and they’ve reached out to residents who organized a pro-law enforcement rally to find items for the collection.

Information about donating to the collection is online at history.nebraska.gov.

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